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Journal of Hazardous Materials
Vol. 291, 2015, Pages: 102–110

Effects of chemical and biological pesticides on plant growth parameters and rhizospheric bacterial community structure in Vigna radiata

Sunil Singh, Rashi Gupta, Shilpi Sharma

Department of Biochemical Engineering and Biotechnology, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, Hauz Khas, New Delhi 110016, India.


With increasing application of pesticides in agriculture, their non-target effects on soil microbial communities are critical to soil health maintenance. The present study aimed to evaluate the effects of chemical pesticides (chlorpyrifos and cypermethrin) and a biological pesticide (azadirachtin) on growth parameters and the rhizospheric bacterial community of Vigna radiata. Qualitative and quantitative analysis by PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and q-PCR, respectively, of the 16S rRNA gene and transcript were performed to study the impact of these pesticides on the resident and active rhizospheric bacterial community. While plant parameters were not affected significantly by the pesticides, a shift in the bacterial community structure was observed with an adverse effect on the abundance of 16S rRNA gene and transcripts. Chlorpyrifos showed almost complete degradation toward the end of the experiment. These non-target impacts on soil ecosystems and the fact that the effects of the biopesticide mimic those of chemical pesticides raise serious concerns regarding their application in agriculture.

Keywords: Chlorpyrifos; Cypermethrin; Azadirachtin; q-PCR; DGGE.

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